Hebweb editorial: cracks in the bridge

Sunday, 1st January 2006

The Hebden Bridge Web has now been going for over ten years, and we thought it is time we started including the occasional editorial. Hebden Bridge has, throughout its history, developed and changed; possibly never more so than in the past thirty years. We are outlining some of what we think are the challenges facing the town and its community as we start 2006 .

  1. Public buildings, such as the Adult Education centre and the former Tourist Information office, have been sold off to private developers, often in questionable circumstances. Will the community be able to hold on to its remaining resources, such as the Hebden Royd Council offices, the Baptist Church and others?
  2. The Ladbroke effect - the debate about Ladbrokes and its implications for Hebden Bridge has provoked more contributions to our discussion forum than any other topic ever has. Our leading the list of least cloned towns makes this debate crucial to the shape our town will take in the future
  3. Traffic and parking: as unchecked development continues, it becomes harder and harder to park or drive comfortably in Hebden Bridge. Roads become more and more clogged with traffic. The debate around Keighley Road shows that the only answer may be to restrict traffic.
  4. The Millpond and Chainsaw Tuesday - who would ever have thought that greedy developers would cause fighting in the calm backstreets of our town? Chainsaw Tuesday caused people look around and realise that our beautiful town was in danger of being destroyed by inappropriate, piecemeal development in every little corner.
  5. The Hebden Bridge Economy. The local Business Association represents a few shops and developers. However, the survey sponsored by the Hebden Bridge Web 2-3 years ago shows that there are literally hundreds of people working from home running their small businesses in Hebden Bridge and the surrounding hills. This is the real, largely unrecognised, invisible backbone of our local economy.
  6. Energy review. The Government is reconsidering nuclear power. A serious accident as Sellafield could harm and pollute Hebden Bridge for decades. The Alternative Technology Centre and the revitalised Gibson Mill show that Hebden Bridge could lead the arguments for a non-nuclear future.
  7. Digital access - the Hebden Bridge Web pioneered the campaign for broadband in the Hebden Bridge area. Although we now have broadband, we still can't access terrestial, digital TV.
  8. Lindsay Rimer - eleven years on, and there is still no arrest. And no explanation or account from the police. Have they tried hard enough? We just don't know. Shouldn't they account for themselves and explain to the community why there has been no arrest for this dreadful crime? (See feature)
  9. Anti-social behaviour - another topic which has brought in a large number of posts to our discussion forum. Opinions vary on how much worse/better it is here than elsewhere.
  10. Independence from Calderdale - when a Hebweb correspondent suggested this, many will have smiled and thought "good idea, but it will never happen". Now recent Government reports of proposed local government reform, possibly around the French commune system, may make this a possibility.

If you have any comments or views about these points, please use our discussion forum.

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